Manchester City will hope to take another step towards reclaiming the Premier League title when they take on Leicester City at the King Power Stadium on Saturday.
The Premier League is into its run-in, with Gameweek 30 of the 2020/21 season set to kick-off this weekend. Four matches will be on show on Saturday, and the penultimate fixture will be played at the King Power Stadium, where Leicester City will play hosts to leaders Manchester City.
Leicester City have enjoyed another solid campaign under the tutelage of Brendan Rodgers and this time around, it looks like the Foxes might be able to clinch a top-four finish. As things stand, the former Premier League champions are third on the table, five points clear of fourth-placed Chelsea, with West Ham United a further two points behind in fifth.
Manchester City, on the other hand, have recovered from a horrendous start to the campaign that once saw them sit perilously close to the relegation zone before becoming runaway leaders in the Premier League. Currently perched atop the standings, Pep Guardiola & co. are 14 points clear of neighbours Manchester United and are the odds-on favourites to win the title come May.
The reverse fixture, played at the Etihad back in September, saw Leicester City come from behind to beat Manchester City 5-2, with Jamie Vardy scoring a match-winning hat-trick. Ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter.
Team News & Tactics
Brendan Rodgers came through unscathed from the international break as far as updates on the team news front are concerned. Against Manchester City on Saturday, the Leicester City manager will be bereft of the services of just four first-team players.
In fact, Rodgers has greeted a couple of positive updates as well ahead of the visit of Manchester City, with Ricardo Pereira and James Maddison recovering from their respective injuries. But, the likes of Wes Morgan (back), James Justin (knee), Cengiz Under (thigh) and Harvey Barnes (knee) remain on the sidelines.
Despite Maddison’s return, Rodgers should stick to the 3-5-2 formation that has yielded some big results so far. Kasper Schmeichel is a certainty in the Leicester goal, with Wesley Fofana, Jonny Evans and Caglar Soyuncu picking themselves in the three-man central defensive unit.
Maddison will line up in the midfield unit alongside Youri Tielemans and Wilfred Ndidi, with the trio staying in behind the ball in the defensive phase. Maddison, though, will be deployed in a free role, almost reminiscent of a no. 10 when Leicester transition from defence to attack.
Out wide, Marc Albrighton should start ahead of Ricardo as the right wing-back, with Timothy Castagne taking his place on the left flank. The very reason for the persistence with the 3-5-2 is partly due to Kelechi Iheanacho’s form and the former Manchester City forward will form the strike partnership with Jamie Vardy.
Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Schmeichel; Fofana, Evans, Soyuncu; Albrighton, Tielemans, Ndidi, Maddison, Castagne; Iheanacho, Vardy
Like his counterpart in the Leicester City dugout, Pep Guardiola does not have any fresh injury concerns hampering his preparations ahead of the trip to the King Power Stadium. In fact, on Saturday, the Manchester City boss will travel to Leicester with a full-strength squad.
Ederson Moraes is an automatic pick between the sticks, with Manchester City set to line up in a 4-3-3 formation as always. The full-backs – likely to be Kyle Walker and Joao Cancelo – will have the dual responsibility of providing the width in the final third while also filling in as central midfielders as per the requirements of the game.
At the heart of the Manchester City defence, there is no looking past John Stones and Ruben Dias, both of whom will hope to step up after a par for course showing in the international break. Up ahead in midfield, Kevin De Bruyne, Rodri and Ilkay Gundogan are indispensable at the moment.
Rodri will hold the fort and receive defensive support from the two full-backs, thereby allowing De Bruyne and Gundogan to charge forward, with the latter making late runs into the box. Gabriel Jesus will likely lead the line for Manchester City, with Guardiola unlikely to pick Bernardo Silva as the false nine, while Riyad Mahrez and Raheem Sterling will be the two wide men.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Ederson; Walker, Stones, Dias, Cancelo; De Bruyne, Rodri, Gundogan; Mahrez, Jesus, Sterling
- Manchester City to win @ 1.53
- Over 2.5 Match Goals @ 1.90
- Phil Foden to score anytime @ 3.00
- Leicester City could complete a league double over Manchester City for the first time since the 1986/87 season. The Foxes, who won 5-2 at the Etihad Stadium in September, can become the first team to score six top-flight goals in a season against a side managed by Pep Guardiola.
- Leicester’s last top-flight victory against a side who began the day top of the table came at Manchester United in January 1998. The Foxes are winless in 15 subsequent Premier League games against the league leaders, losing 13.
- Manchester City have won eight successive away fixtures in the Premier League, scoring a total of 22 goals and conceding just three. Pep Guardiola’s side have won 25 of their past 26 matches in all competitions, including a club-record 14 consecutive away fixtures
- Leicester have lost six home matches in the Premier League this season; Everton are the only top-half side with a worse record.
- Jamie Vardy has eight goals in nine top-flight games against Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, twice as many as any other player has scored against sides managed by the former Barcelona boss. Vardy, who has just one goal in his last 16 appearances, has scored two of his three Premier League hat-tricks against Guardiola’s City.
Player to Watch
There are many potential picks for this section but after having been named the Premier League Player of the Month for March, the in-form Kelechi Iheanacho is the final selection. With nine goals in his last nine games for Leicester City, Iheanacho is nigh on unstoppable at the moment.
Up against his former side Manchester City, Iheanacho’s performance will go a long way in determining which team comes out on top in the end. The Nigerian striker will invariably be raring to go against the league leaders and fireworks can surely be expected. Can he extend his fine run of form?
Leicester City 1-2 Manchester City
This one should be too close to call. Jamie Vardy, despite his indifferent form, will be under the spotlight, while Kelechi Iheanacho will surely be one to look out for. However, Manchester City have become a ruthless side this season and should find a way to nick all three points. With that in mind, The Hard Tackle predicts a 2-1 win for Pep Guardiola & co.